The IRS increased the Educator Expense Deduction amount from $250 to $300 for the 2022 tax year. If married and filing a joint tax return with another eligible educator, the limit increases to $600, but may not exceed $300 per spouse. To be considered an eligible educator, a taxpayer or spouse must:
- be a teacher, instructor, aide, counselor or principal of grades kindergarten through 12;
- be employed by a school classified as an elementary or secondary education provider under state law; and
- work a minimum of 900 hours within a school year
As such, preschool, homeschool, college, and other post-secondary educators are ineligible for this deduction.
Qualifying expenses are items purchased out-of-pocket, will not be reimbursed, and are considered helpful and appropriate to students and the classroom itself. These items may include:
- school supplies
- tech equipment, software, and related services
- physical education equipment, if related to athletics
- COVID-19 prevention-related items such as personal protective equipment, plexiglass, disinfectant, sanitizer, and air purifiers
Typically, professional development courses are considered eligible expenses, if related to curriculum being taught. However, it may be more advantageous to utilize a separate educational tax benefit, such as the lifetime learning credit. For more information, refer to Chapter 3 of IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
To ensure proper deduction or credit, it is best to maintain organized records of all expenses claimed so that the correct amount is reported on federal Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This means receipts, cancelled checks, and other documentation that supports the proof of expense.
For 2021 tax returns being filed now, the deduction limit is still $250 for a single taxpayer, and $500 for educators filing a joint return. For additional information, visit the IRS website or consult your tax professional.
Author, Dyan Cole
Director of Operations
Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties.